Wonders of nature: Michael Hoppen Gallery debuts an online collection of works by Karl Blossfeldt
As evidence that the visual arts are flourishing in the digital age, esteemed London gallery Michael Hoppen is launching its third online-only exhibition – a virtual showcase comprising 30 first edition photogravures by 1920s German photographer, sculptor and design teacher Karl Blossfeldt.
Regarded as one of the defining photographers of the twentieth century, Blossfeldt’s otherworldly botanical images possess a certain subtlety and depth that is so particular to early photography – an appeal that was summed up by German novelist and poet Helmut Heißenbüttel in Taschen’s 1981 monograph on the artist’s work: ’Despite all the geometry and symmetry, all of a sudden something impenetrable, something mysterious, comes through.’
Hoppen, who recently staged ’The Lady Vanishes’ – a special exhibition of photographic works from Wallpaper’s collaboration with Noé Sendas and Jan Lehner (W*192) – tells us, ’Karl Blossfeldt is one of the best kept secrets in the art world. His work never seems to tire and it continues to speak in an extraordinary clear voice across generations of artists, designers and architects. For this reason, it was an easy decision to show him online as people immediately recognise when something is "right".’
A recent report by Hiscox stated that online art sales have risen from $1.57bn in 2013 to an estimated $2.64bn in 2014, with 84 per cent of those transactions taking place below £10,000; the decision to launch this sale online, with prices starting at an accessible £200, is a canny move by Hoppen.
’Online is a crowded place, so photographs that are immediately recognisable, beautiful, enigmatic and also still affordable tick all the right boxes,’ Hoppen says of Blossfeldt’s works. Not abandoning the traditional formats completely, however, offline the gallery will offer first edition copies of Blossfeldt’s books; Wunder In Der Natur, 1932 and Urformen Der Kunst, 1928.